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June 13, 2005 Michael Jackson has been declared innocent of child molestation by a California jury, ending a dramatic case that has drawn massive media coverage and interest from the pop singer's fans.
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Michael Jackson waves to fans outside a Santa Maria, Calif., courthouse, June 3, 2005.
TIMELINE OF A TRIAL
In a BBC documentary aired on ABC's 20/20, Jackson reveals he shares his bed with young boys not related to him. "It's not sexual," he says. "It's very charming — it's very sweet."
Nov. 18, 2003
Armed with a search warrant, police raid Jackson's Neverland Ranch on the same day his Number Ones greatest-hits CD is released.
Nov. 20, 2003
Wearing handcuffs, Jackson is booked on suspicion of child molestation by Santa Barbara sheriff's deputies.
Dec. 18, 2003
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon announces Jackson has been charged with lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 and administering an intoxicating agent.
Jan. 16, 2004
After showing up late to court, Jackson pleads not guilty to the charges against him — then delights fans outside court by dancing on top of an SUV.
April 30, 2004
Jackson pleads not guilty to a grand jury indictment that expands the charges to include allegations of child abduction, extortion and false imprisonment.
Dec. 3, 2004
Investigators return to Neverland Ranch with a new search warrant — reportedly looking for DNA evidence. At their request, Jackson gives them a sample of his DNA.
Feb. 28, 2005
Trial begins, with Sneddon squaring off against Jackson defense attorney Tom Mesereau in opening arguments.
March 28, 2005
Judge Rodney S. Melville rules the jury can hear evidence of prior allegations of molestation — a major blow to Jackson's defense.
June 3, 2005
After two days of closing arguments, jury deliberations begin.
June 13, 2005
Jurors find Jackson not guilty on all 10 charges against him. The pop star leaves the Santa Maria courthouse a free man, and returns to the sanctuary of Neverland.